Archive - April 2018

National Volunteer Month
Stroke Awareness

National Volunteer Month

By: Valerie Valcour, PHN

April is National Volunteer Month and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all who have taken time to volunteer. Volunteering can take on many forms; for example, delivering meals Live Well Lamoillethrough Meals on Wheels,  working at the Lamoille County Food Share, or volunteering with Vermont’s Medical Reserve Corps.

I am the Coordinator for the Lamoille Valley Medical Reserve Corps and if you are a medical professional, past or present, or have no medical experience but would like to explore how you could volunteer your time to support public health, then I invite you to take a look at what the Medical Reserve Corps has to offer.

The National Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a network of local volunteers with a mission to strengthen public health; reduce vulnerabilities; improve emergency preparedness, response and recovery capabilities; and build community resilience. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals, and other community members interested in improving the health and safety of their local communities.

Live Well LamoilleThe Lamoille Valley Medical Reserve Corps is the newest unit in Vermont. We recently joined eight other existing units throughout the state. Volunteer training has been our most recent focus. For example, we learned ways to personally prepare for all types of emergencies and provide psychological First Aid, and we explored the roles MRC volunteers can have during public health mass medication or vaccination distribution clinics. Future training topics will include Stop the Bleed and You Are the Help Until Help Arrives. Soon the Lamoille Valley MRC will offer these and other training to the public, so check the Vermont MRC Event Calendar and your local media sources.

For more information about the Medical Reserve Corps and how to become a volunteer please contact Valerie Valcour, PHN at the Vermont Department of Health 802-585-4434 or

Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

Stroke Awareness

By: Nancy Wagner

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people per year. Approximately 800,000 strokes will occur this year, one every 40 seconds, and taking a life approximately every 4 minutes.

Copley Hospital will be holding a 2-part Stroke Awareness class the first week of May. Class one will be held on May 1st from 6-7pm and again on May 2nd from 12-1pm.  Class two will be held on May 8th from 6-7pm and again on May 9th from 12-1pm. To register, call Copley Wellness Center at 888-8369. There is no cost for the class but please pre-register so that we have enough handouts available. Classes will be held in the Stevens Conference Room at the hospital.

Take a moment to learn about risk factors for having a stroke, as well as preventative steps you can take.

Types of strokes:

  • Ischemic stroke: caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel or artery in the brain. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: caused by a blood vessel in the brain that breaks and bleeds into the brain. About 13% of all strokes are hemorrhagic but more than 30% of all stroke deaths happen with hemorrhagic strokes.

Risk factors for having a stroke?

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, previous stroke or TIA (mini-stroke), atrial fibrillation, carotid artery disease, obesity, physical inactivity, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.

Preventing a stroke:

Some of these risk factors you can’t control, but many you can. If you smoke, work on quitting. If you drink too much alcohol, cut back or quit. If you are overweight or obese, get more active and seek out a registered dietitian for help with eating. Healthy eating, increased activity and smoking cessation will help to improve your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, which will further decrease your risk of a stroke.

Signs of a stroke?

  1. Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  2. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  3. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  4. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  5. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

What to do if you or someone with you is having a stroke:

Many people don’t realize they are having a stroke. It is often more obvious to those around them. Time is important as quick treatment helps to prevent serious long-term effects of the stroke. Remember the word FAST which stands for:

FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!


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